Last updated at 16:25 BST, Wednesday, 03 April 2013

Hotel living

Summary

25 February 2013

A Hong Kong hotel has sold individual rooms to be used as homes. It's one of the ways residents are trying to cope with soaring housing prices, which are among the highest in the world.

Reporter:

Jennifer Pak

Hong Kong

Why are people buying hotel rooms to live in?

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Report

The hotel suites are cheaper than apartments in Hong Kong. Hundreds of people lined up for hours to buy a unit at the Apex Horizon Hotel this week. It's not clear whether investors can legally live in the suites but buyers are still eager.

Voice of Hong Kong man:

The developer had lawyers look at it thoroughly so I'm not worried.

Voice of Hong Kong woman:

At these prices the hotel suites are cheaper to buy than public housing.

The hotel was able to sell all 360 of its suites in two days - a sign there is a demand for affordable housing. Hong Kong's low interest rate has attracted hordes of mainland Chinese investors.

It pushed home prices to record highs last year. Flats cost an average of US$14,000 per square metre in central locations. Many residents feel they can no longer afford to buy apartments.

Hong Kong people cope by renting makeshift homes on rooftops, while others move into so-called cage homes - hutches made from wire-mesh, stacked on top of each other in a tiny room. The government's efforts to cool down property prices have not worked. So Hong Kong residents have to be creative in finding space to live.

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Vocabulary

lined up

queued up in a row

eager

very keen, enthusiastic

affordable

something ordinary people have the money to pay for

hordes

a large group or crowd

cope

deal with the issue

makeshift

poor quality, made of whatever material is available

hutches

small structures, used for keeping small animals in, especially rabbits

cool down

slow down the increase in